Low soybean prices may make the crop an affordable protein supplement for cattle feeders. Dr. Mary Drewnoski, beef system specialist, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, says soybeans are about 40 percent crude protein. “When using unprocessed soybeans in cattle diets, the challenge is they are about 20 percent fat. Too much fat in a forage-based diet can bring down digestion of fiber,” says Drewnoski. “Be sure not to supplement over seven percent of the diet with soybeans. Cow diets can creep up to ten percent.” Practical feeding levels are around two-to-three pounds per head per day. Raw, whole soybeans should not be fed to calves under 300 pounds. In addition, unprocessed soybeans shouldn’t be used with protein tubs, blocks or other supplements containing urea. According to NDSU Extension, the combination of urea-containing products and soybean can lead to ammonia toxicity.
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